Universal education is recognised as one of the major pillars of long-term well-being and growth. Discuss the viability of compulsory universal education. Write your views in at least 250 words.
Education is one of the most important aspects of human life, and it is becoming increasingly indispensable as the quality of life improves. There is also a serious need for an increasingly knowledge-driven mass around the world; because with developments in the fields of science and technology, we might be looking at ‘smart’ ways of getting all kinds of work done, including communication, transportation, managing finances, accessing healthcare, getting employed in an increasingly sophisticated work environment, and so on. Thus, a minimum level of education will become imperative in order to access even basic necessities in the future. This is a simplistic premise for the concept of universal education or universal access to education that needs to be established by every country as part of its human development policy by 2030, according to the United Nations’ goal.
There are several reasons the concept of compulsory and universal access to education has become so important. There are millions of children around the world who do not get basic education because of prevailing social situations and adversities. These could be poverty, disability, parental illiteracy, religious fanaticism, lack of existing schools, an atmosphere of strife or war in the country, and so on. Another major phenomenon is apathy towards the education of the girl child, which is a grave socio-cultural issue. All these conditions combine to render the most vulnerable group in the population, the children, towards a bleak future. Not only do they get deprived of education but other fundamental rights, too. Many of them do not even survive long enough, or they grow up to live a life of poverty, illiteracy, crime, health problems and more.
These gullible children as individuals become easy prey to propagandists who use them to propagate vices such as social unrest, unlawful activities, communal or religious fanaticism, slavery and even employment in hazardous circumstances, to name a few. And thus, the circle of exploitation remains unbroken and societies at large suffer. There could also be deep economic consequences of this situation that nations have to bear. Therefore it becomes imperative to develop and implement an inclusive education system to induct the last child into school to engineer social progress, peace, and sustainable holistic growth.
Countries across the world are adopting various means to enlarge the scope of education and build necessary infrastructure. Measures such as mid-day meals, free distribution of books, stationery and uniforms, medical camps, etc. help support children from poor families to come to schools. There are several government and NGOs leading awareness programs to educate communities regarding the importance of education for children, irrespective of gender; and tougher measures include banning child marriages and discrimination on the basis of race, community, disability, or citizenship. However, the road ahead is still long before full implementation is achieved.
Many handicaps have to be conquered to make education a part of life for all the people of the world. The most important ones are linked to quality and infrastructure. There is a huge gap in the availability of quality teachers, which is one of the most basic requirements for school education. Not only that, but other areas such as teacher training, monitoring their performance, and encouraging talented young graduates to consider teaching as fruitful employment and creating a well-designed curriculum require focus and investment. Other equally compelling focus areas include building and upgrading schools in terms of infrastructure, creating access and modes of easy transport to schools, providing an atmosphere of security and retention programs to prevent dropouts. So even though universal education is a cure for many socio-economic problems and offer numerous long term benefits, unless urgent efforts in the right direction are made towards implementation, it may well remain an unfulfilled utopian dream.
Coherence and Cohesion